Seven Steps for Godly Planning

“If the Lord wants us to, we will live and carry out our plans.”

James 4:15 (GW)

We’ve been looking at Nehemiah’s model for making God-inspired plans. So far, we’ve learned five steps:

Step 1: Ask God for favor on your life.
Step 2: Prepare for an opportunity, and then wait.
Step 3: Expect fear, but don’t let it stop you.
Step 4: Establish a clear target.
Step 5: Set a deadline.

Here are Nehemiah’s final two steps in developing a life plan.

Step 6: Anticipate barriers.

Part of the planning process involves anticipating problems. Proverbs 27:12 says, “A sensible man watches for problems ahead and prepares to meet them” (TLB).

Nehemiah thought through all the problems he might face. Then he said to the king, “Would you be willing to give me letters to the governors of the provinces west of the Euphrates River, so that I can travel safely to Judah? I will need timber to rebuild the gates of the fortress near the temple and more timber to construct the city wall and to build a place for me to live. And so, I would appreciate a letter to Asaph, who is in charge of the royal forest” (Nehemiah 2:7-8 CEV).

First, Nehemiah asked the king for permission to go to Jerusalem. Then he asked for protection and provision. Nehemiah was a cupbearer, not a professional builder, yet because he had spent four months praying and planning, he was able to anticipate the barriers, determine his needs, and calculate the cost.

Step 7: Trust God to meet all your needs.

Even when things don’t turn out the way you hoped, you can still trust God. A mark of spiritual maturity is when you recognize that God’s hand is behind the plans that go your way and the plans that don’t go your way. Godly goal setting says, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and carry out our plans” (James 4:15 GW).

The king ended up giving Nehemiah everything he had asked for—and Nehemiah gave God all the credit: “And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me” (Nehemiah 2:8 NLT). Nehemiah didn’t say, “Look at what my planning did.” He said, “Look at what God did.”

What would you like God to do in the next six months, the next year, or the next five years in your life? A great plan starts with these seven steps that Nehemiah followed. Try following them in your own life and see how God works in your life.

Talk It Over

  • What are some common barriers to reaching your goals? How can you better prepare to overcome those barriers?
  • In what areas of your life has God given you success? Spend some time giving God the credit for that success and for having his “gracious hand” upon you, even when your plans haven’t been successful.
  • How can you follow Jesus more faithfully so that you can have his wisdom in your planning? What one step will you take today to do that?

Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.